BOE mulling extension for director

Jeremy Nash-News herald

Loudon County Board of Education will consider an extension to Director of Schools Jason Vance’s contract at Thursday’s regular monthly board meeting.
An extension would give one additional year and boost Vance’s annual salary to $126,000 for fiscal year 2015-16. He has three years left on his contract.
Vance would also be allotted $600 per month for travel, not including extended travel outside the county. He was previously required to submit mileage monthly.
“We’ve required him up to now to turn his mileage in monthly and be reimbursed on that basis, and that’s just a lot of effort and extra work on his part as much as he jumps in and out of cars,” Gary Ubben, board member, said. “So, we decided just to normalize that and take the amounts that we have been paying him over the last couple years for mileage and just pay him that much each month.”

During last week’s board workshop, members contemplated whether they should approve the extension and travel vehicle allowance and hold off on the salary discussion until the board gained a better grasp of upcoming teacher pay increases.
Members discussed Vance’s contract during the out-of-county retreat in Gatlinburg, including an equalization component to that of surrounding district superintendents. 
“Now we may not have answers for that third issue on salary at this upcoming meeting, so we may approve the extension and the mileage and then deal with the salary issue a month or two or three from now whenever we know what the teacher raises are going to be,” Ubben said.
The previous director of schools for Loudon County was Wayne Honeycutt. Vance took the job in 2011.
“I’ve got family that are teachers,” Bobby Johnson Jr., board member, said during the workshop. “I’ve got some that are para-pros, and my explanation to them is when we’re giving a raise, he’s leading this. He’s the CEO running this thing, and I think there’s more pressure he’s leading the guidance. I saw it when we didn’t have guidance before, it was god-awful, and I don’t want to go back to that. I think he’s done a fine job.”
During the workshop, Ubben said it might be best to hold off on the salary discussion until members have a budget in hand and a better idea of what funds they have to work with for the upcoming fiscal year.
Chairman Ric Best said approving the extension would be a vote of confidence in Vance.
“The board has two options,” Best said after the meeting. “They can either elect to approve his contract in components, and the three components of course are the extension, the salary increase and the travel honorarium. The travel honorarium’s just a wash, we’ll just change the bookkeeping on that. And the board will have the option of either accepting the contract the way it’s currently proposed or to accept parts of it and table other parts of it for future meetings.”